Welcome to another edition of Throwback Thursday! This throwback poem is fairly recent, originally published this past Valentine’s Day for the Black Poetry Writing Month Challenge. It seemed appropriate for today since it is peach season after all, and given that the blood red stone in the center of every peach is almost like a heart, they’re the perfect fruit for romance!
So how do you like your peaches? I like mine succulent and sweet, the kind you can bite into and the juices stream down your chin for a lover close by to lick up. 😉
By the way, I’m already brainstorming prompt ideas for next year’s Black Poetry Writing Month. I really want to boost participation and visibility for this project. So if you’re interested, leave a comment with suggestions, ideas, promises to join the challenge next year, etc.
Now on to the poem…
When Peaches Were in Season
Years later, and I still remember
your ginger hair, red like the sky
just before dusk, after the sun
has set behind the cotton fields,
and we’re back in the quarters,
you lying in hay, my face in the
roots of your crown, smelling the
spiced peaches you prepared for
the Missus. One night you snuck
a jar under the folds of your skirt,
and we hid in the balcony above
the chicken coup, slurping the
slimy sweet fruit between cinnamon
crusted fingers, dripping maple
syrup between wood planks into the
den of orange and brown feathers.
It was the only time you ever kissed
me, leaving behind the sticky,
sugary stain between my nose and
upper lip. I never wiped it off.
Not even when Ol’ Whalen tore my
back raw for loving his wench. Not
when he sent me to the driver to
break me. Not when Mama Celia
delivered your baby lighter than
you. No, not even when they sold
you to the rice plantation in South
Caroline, and I watched you dragged
behind the cart in chains, still
swollen from your recent labor, and
when you turned around one last time
to call goodbye, your crying eyes
leaking streaks of blood. But I still
remember your syrupy lips, fastened to
my rough, wiry beard two seconds shorter
than I wanted it to last, the caramelized
peaches squeezed between your teeth,
your copper hair flipped over your
face, a veil to hide your deepest thoughts,
until I parted the spirally locks
and met your stuffed cheeked grin,
oozing cinnamon and maple peach juice
from the corners of your mouth.
Written for Black Poetry Writing Month, 2017— a fortnight of “black” love poetry. Join the challenge and share your love poems today!